World ex­pects G20 to up­hold global econ­omy

China seeks clear sig­nal of sup­port for mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism: For­eign Min­istry

Global Times - Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - By Zhang Hui

China ex­pects the up­com­ing G20 sum­mit to send a clear sig­nal on sup­port­ing the mul­ti­lat­eral trade sys­tem, re­it­er­ate the com­mon po­si­tion of op­pos­ing trade pro­tec­tion­ism and to­gether build an open global econ­omy, China’s Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs said Fri­day.

As­sis­tant For­eign Min­is­ter Zhang Jun said Fri­day that the global econ­omy faces mul­ti­ple risks and down­ward pres­sure, in­clud­ing from fiercer pro­tec­tion­ism and uni­lat­er­al­ism, so the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity places a high value on the G20 sum­mit, and ex­pects it will con­trib­ute to a strong, sus­tained, bal­anced and in­clu­sive world econ­omy.

Zhang was speak­ing at a me­dia brief­ing on Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s up­com­ing trip to the G20 in Ar­gentina.

Xi will pay state vis­its to Spain, Ar­gentina, Panama and Por­tu­gal from Novem­ber 27 to De­cem­ber 5, and at­tend the 13th Group of 20 (G20) sum­mit from Novem­ber 30 to De­cem­ber 1 in Buenos Aires, Ar­gentina, For­eign Min­istry spokesper­son Lu Kang an­nounced Fri­day.

China also ex­pects the G20 sum­mit will see strength­ened co­op­er­a­tion on trade and in­vest­ment and the abil­ity to tap new growth driv­ers, Wang Shouwen, Vice Com­merce Min­is­ter, said at the me­dia brief­ing.

“But the G20 is not the WTO, and can­not re­place the WTO in de­ci­sion­mak­ing. Cer­tain dis­cus­sions have to be con­ducted with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of

WTO mem­bers and on the ba­sis of con­sen­sus,” Zhang said.

Bai Ming, deputy direc­tor of the In­ter­na­tional Mar­ket Re­search In­sti­tute of China’s Min­istry of Com­merce (MOFCOM), told the Global Times on Fri­day that the key for next week’s G20 is what the path of glob­al­iza­tion will look like in the fu­ture – whether it will be a win-win road marked by more co­op­er­a­tion or not.

“On spe­cific is­sues, re­form of the WTO and the Sino-US trade dis­pute will top the agenda,” Bai said.

MOFCOM is­sued a doc­u­ment on China’s po­si­tion on WTO re­form Fri­day, which states that China sup­ports WTO re­form and be­lieves that re­form should safe­guard the core val­ues of mul­ti­lat­eral trade sys­tems and guar­an­tee the in­ter­ests of mem­bers from de­vel­op­ing coun­tries.

Wang said the WTO faced three ma­jor crises, which are a lack of Ap­pel­late Body mem­bers in its ter­mi­nal res­o­lu­tion mech­a­nism, abuse of the WTO se­cu­rity ex­cep­tion clause and ig­no­rance of mul­ti­lat­eral rules by some mem­bers.

Bai blamed the US for the cri­sis, as it is only act­ing in its own in­ter­ests but at the same time, is re­fus­ing to make any con­tri­bu­tion.

“The US only uses WTO clauses fa­vor­able to it, and re­fuses to rec­og­nize all the other clauses,” Bai said.

Be­cause of the US, the G20 faces chal­lenges in play­ing a co­or­di­nat­ing role among all par­ties. Bai warned that G20 mem­bers may find it dif­fi­cult to reach a joint state­ment at the con­clu­sion of the sum­mit, and that some im­por­tant con­tent, such as op­pos­ing uni­lat­er­al­ism, may be ex­cluded.

The G20 sum­mit has at­tracted world­wide at­ten­tion be­cause it is the first time that Xi will meet US coun­ter­part Don­ald Trump since the Sino-US trade dis­pute started in earnest.

Re­gard­ing the sig­nif­i­cance of the meet­ing, Wang said that trade of­fi­cials from both coun­tries have main­tained close con­tact and have had con­struc­tive dis­cus­sions on is­sues of com­mon con­cern and each other’s par­tic­u­lar con­cerns.

“We hope China and the US are able to re­solve their prob­lems based on mu­tual re­spect, ben­e­fits and hon­esty,” Wang said.

“The world ex­pects the sum­mit to be a turn­ing point for China-US re­la­tions and see the trade fric­tion eased, but this will re­quire a lot more di­a­logue and ne­go­ti­a­tions,” Bai said.

Visit to Panama

Xi’s visit to Panama, the first Chi­nese leader’s visit since China and Panama es­tab­lished diplo­matic ties in 2017, is a mile­stone for fu­ture de­vel­op­ment of bi­lat­eral re­la­tions, Qin Gang, Vice For­eign Min­is­ter, said at the me­dia brief­ing.

Xu Shicheng, a re­search fel­low at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences’ In­sti­tute of Latin Amer­i­can Stud­ies, told the Global Times that Xi’s Panama visit will boost bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion un­der the Belt and Road ini­tia­tive (BRI).

“Bi­lat­eral re­la­tions wit­nessed rapid de­vel­op­ment just a year af­ter the two coun­tries es­tab­lished ties. Panama was the first Latin Amer­i­can coun­try to join the BRI,” Xu said.

Xu said that the deep­ened co­op­er­a­tion with Panama shows that the BRI is open to the en­tire world.

Xi and Pana­ma­nian Pres­i­dent Juan Car­los Varela will sign about 20 agree­ments in fields such as com­merce, tech­nol­ogy and in­fra­struc­ture dur­ing the “un­prece­dented visit” on De­cem­ber 2-3, the Pana­ma­nian pres­i­dency said in a state­ment on Thurs­day, Reuters re­ported.

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